Laurel, MD Wrongful Death Lawyer
The negligence of others is more than just an inconvenience; it can be extremely dangerous. In particularly severe cases, accidents caused by negligence lead to death. Surviving families of injured victims can sue for wrongful death.
After losing a loved one to someone’s inexcusable negligence, certain family members can file a wrongful death claim and get compensation. While the loss of a loved one might be felt throughout their community, only family members may file the claim. Common examples of wrongful death cases include auto accidents, medical negligence, elder abuse in nursing homes, and violence. The damages in these cases can be extremely high. You should account for various pecuniary losses related to your family member’s passing in addition to conditions causing emotional pain and distress. The evidence you need to successfully prove your claims will depend on where and how your loved one was injured. However, medical records are often a key piece of evidence and should be obtained quickly.
If you recently lost a loved one, contact our wrongful death attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras and schedule a free case review by calling (410) 694-7291.
Family Members Who Can File Wrongful Death Claims in Laurel, MD
According to Md. Code Cts. and Jud. Proc. § 3-904(a), only a select few immediate family members are legally eligible to bring a wrongful death claim. Only a deceased person’s spouse, parent, or child can file a wrongful death claim. If at least one of these eligible parties exists, no other extended family members can bring the case. Non-family members, such as close friends, can file wrongful death claims.
If there are no eligible immediate family members – such as when a person who is unmarried, childless, and has no surviving parents passes away – then other family members can come forward and file the case. In such a situation, a plaintiff must meet 2 important criteria. First, they must be related to the deceased individual by blood or marriage. Second, they must be dependent on the deceased individual for some sort of support.
This often means financial support but could include other forms of support. For example, a sibling who receives regular financial support from the deceased person can file a wrongful death claim. Additionally, a cousin or other extended family member who received caregiving for wrongful death. Our wrongful death attorneys can help you family figure out who is eligible to file the case.
Circumstances Typically Surrounding Wrongful Death Claims in Laurel, MD
Wrongful death claims might arise from numerous circumstances and wrongful acts. However, certain circumstances are more common than others, and you should discuss them with your attorney. While accidents and negligence often cause wrongful deaths, cases involving intentional torts and violence are also common.
Car accidents are arguably one of the most common factors implicated in wrongful death cases. Perhaps your loved one was hit by a distracted driver in an intersection. Maybe a drunk driver caused a severe accident that involved your family member. Negligence is a huge factor in car accident cases, and negligent drivers should be held accountable for the harm they cause.
Another concern in many wrongful death claims is medical negligence. While doctors are not expected to be perfect, and mistakes sometimes happen when doctors try to provide treatment, certain mistakes are inexcusable. If your loved one passed away because a doctor or other medical professional provided treatment that fell below the standard of care, you should sue for substantial damages.
Speaking of substandard health care, elder abuse in nursing homes or care facilities often leads to wrongful death claims from family members. While we trust our older loved ones with the care professionals in nursing homes, abuse sometimes happens. Abuse might be physical or stem from negligence or a lack of care. For example, your loved one might have suffered physical violence or become sick from mismanaged medicine or poor nutrition.
Damages You May Claim in a Laurel, MD Wrongful Death Case
Your damages should accurately account for the various pecuniary losses of your loved one’s passing. Pecuniary losses should include funeral and burial costs and the loss of financial support from the deceased person. For example, a spouse might claim the deceased person’s income that they can no longer rely on.
You can also claim various economic damages incurred by the deceased person after they were injured and before they passed away. This often includes medical bills related to treatment for injuries and various other damages from the accident. For example, if your loved one was injured in a car accident, rushed to the hospital, and treated by doctors before succumbing to their injuries, you can claim the cost of their medical bills.
Non-economic damages are often intertwined with your family’s grief. According to Md. Code. Cts. and Jud. Proc. § 3-904(d), damages may include mental anguish, pain, and suffering from losing your loved one. You can also claim the loss of companionship, society, comfort, and protection from your loved one. A spouse might claim the loss of marital care, advice, and counsel. In short, the pain of losing your family members can and should be compensated.
What Evidence You Need for a Wrongful Death Case in Laurel, MD
The evidence you need will depend on how your loved one was injured and ultimately passed away. In cases of accidents related to ordinary negligence, like an auto accident, evidence might come from the accident scene. Physical evidence, witness testimony, and security camera footage of the accident may be very helpful.
If your loved one was injured because of the defendant’s act of violence, the police are likely involved. We can use a criminal conviction to support your civil claims. We can also use police reports from the criminal investigation to guide us to admissible evidence, such as the identities of witnesses, records, or physical evidence.
Medical records are likely very important in your case. Your loved one’s hospital records can shed light on the extent of their injuries. They are also necessary to establish the cause of death. Defendants commonly try to argue that something unrelated to their negligence is the real cause of death. Accurate medical records can help you prove otherwise.
If You Lost a Loved One, Contact Our Laurel, MD Wrongful Death Lawyers For Help
If a family member passed away under wrongful circumstances, contact our wrongful death lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras and schedule a free case review by calling (410) 694-7291.